Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy auto insurance, the agent will ask you to list all household members over the age of 14
  • If you have teens in your home, they will be listed as household members who don’t possess a license until they pass their driver’s licensing exam
  • You should always verify that your teen is covered to drive your vehicle when they get their provisional permit When a teen is learning under the supervision of an adult on the policy, they are typically covered without being rated as an operator
  • When your teen is licensed, they can have a dramatic affect on your rates because they are inexperienced behind the wheel. The average premium for a vehicle will double when parents add their 16-year-old to the policy
  • There are ways to keep your premiums low when you have a young driver in the home. Be sure to buy a safe vehicle and stress the importance of good grades so that you can manage your rates with the Good Student Discount

Having a baby may be a lot of work, but having a teenager is more work than most parents expect. As soon as you become a parent, you plan for the future and imagine how your child will change over the years.

Unfortunately, the years fly by and your little one starts to become a young adult faster than you’d like.

No matter how convenient it is to play taxi driver for your teen, the idea of your little one operating a 2-ton car can be terrifying.

You may not want to let go, but eventually, you’re going to have to give in so that you can teach your young adult how to drive responsibly.

Before you decide that it’s time to sign off on a permit, here’s what you need to know about adding your teen to your insurance policy.

You Have a Duty to Notify Your Insurer of the Risk Present in Your Household

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Insurance companies charge each policyholder a unique rate. The rates are unique to the household because they are calculated by using the answers that you provide on your application.

When factors make drivers in the household more likely to file a claim, the insurer will charge the household more than the average driver.

One definite question you’ll be asked is who lives in your home. You might not be expected to list babies and young children, but most underwriters do want to know about teens in the home and adults regardless of their relation to you.

It’s your duty to notify your agent if people move in or out of your home, or if a child in your home reaches the age of 14.

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Is a teen who lives in the home rated on the policy?

Just because a 14-year-old needs to be listed doesn’t mean that they will affect your premium. In fact, in most states, you have to be 16 before you even qualify for a driver’s license.

When you list the teen as a household member, it’s just giving a company a heads-up so they know to check in with you to see if your teen has become licensed.

As long as your teen doesn’t have a license, they won’t be rated as a primary or occasional driver on the policy. If, however, the teen is licensed and you fail to notify your insurer, you could pay the price.

Insurers are free to deny your claim if they feel like you purposely failed to rate the driver just to save money on your coverage.

What is a provisional license?

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A provisional license is a restricted driving privilege that’s granted to teens and some adults who don’t have any experience behind the wheel of a car.

It may also be called a learner’s permit for teens in some states. To get a learner’s permit, a teen only needs to pass a written test.

A teen with a provisional license is only allowed to drive during specific hours when someone who is 25 or older is in the car.

They can’t drive other teens and must abide by the rules of the road at all times to eventually earn their driver’s license. After holding a permit for 6 months or longer, most teens are eligible to take a licensing exam.

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Do parents need to add teens who have their permit?

While teens with permits can technically drive, the restrictions limit where they can go and who they can drive with.

These restrictions make drivers with provisional permits less of a risk than teens in the same age range who have their unrestricted driving privilege. This is why you don’t always have to pay premiums for teens with permits.

Most insurance companies will offer parents free coverage to their teens with their permits as long as the parents or a covered driver on the policy is supervising the driving.

Before you assume that you don’t have to pay for coverage while your teen only has a permit, be sure to contact your agent and ask if you need to make updates.

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When do you need to add your young driver to your policy?

The common rule of thumb is that you need to add a teen as a rated driver after they are issued a driver’s license.

You’ll have to decide if the newly licensed driver needs to be rated as a primary or an occasional operator. This title is what dictates how much the teen will raise your rates.

How much will a policy go up by adding a teen driver?

There’s no way to tell how much a teen will raise your rates unless you contact your insurer and you ask for a quote.

Every state has different rules and regulations surrounding teen car insurance rates. The average parent’s policy goes up by 79 percent when they add a teenage driver.

The only way to keep your rates low is to take advantage of discounts and to shop around. Make sure that you ask for all of the discounts that your teen is eligible and then you can start to comparison shop.